No. 10 Marquette tops West Virginia
Crowder scores 26 points to lead Eagles past Mountaineers
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Jae Crowder scored 26 points and No. 10 Marquette, after benching Darius Johnson-Odom and two other starters in the first half for breaking team rules, overcame a double-digit deficit to beat West Virginia 61-60 on Friday night.
Johnson-Odom, the team’s leading scorer, sat out the first half along with Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue due to an undisclosed violation of team rules. Still, the Golden Eagles (24-5, 13-3 Big East) won their fifth consecutive and 12th in the last 13 games.
Marquette fell behind by 15 early in the second half, but Crowder and Johnson-Odom led a 24-8 run and Marquette overtook the Mountaineers (17-12, 7-9), who may need to win their final two regular-season games to have any chance at an automatic bid to their fifth consecutive NCAA tournament.
Cadougan’s layup put Marquette ahead to stay 54-53 with 4:17 remaining. West Virginia had a chance to win it, but Darryl “Truck” Bryant missed a wild, off-balance shot from the baseline with 2 seconds left.
Bryant, who had shot 24 percent from the field in his 10 previous games, led West Virginia with 25 points.
Kevin Jones, the conference’s leading scorer and rebounder, spent most of the game in foul trouble and was limited to 12 points and six rebounds.
With Johnson-Odom, Cadougan and Blue benched for the first half, reserve Todd Mayo got his second start, although he, too, was ordered to sit out in the second half due to a similar violation.
Jamail Jones was given his first start of the season, while Derrick Wilson got his second.
Marquette led briefly in the first half and didn’t get any momentum going until West Virginia fell apart down the stretch.
Bryant’s 3-pointer gave West Virginia its largest lead, 37-22, with 18:36 left.
West Virginia had a 42-29 rebounding advantage for the game but got burned on transition defense and gave up numerous layups in the second half.
Crowder made three layups in a five-minute span. A 10-2 run brought the Golden Eagles within 39-34 after Johnson-Odom’s first basket and Marquette took its first lead of the second half, 46-45, on Blue’s dunk with 7:16 left.
Blue sank two free throws with 1:05 remaining for Marquette’s final points and a 61-56 lead.
Bryant made two free throws with 41 seconds to go and Keaton Miles hit a layup with 15 seconds left, but the Mountaineers couldn’t score on their final possession.